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Physical Diagnosis.

Elmer L. DeGowin, M.D.
AMA Arch Intern Med. 1957;99(1):161-162. doi:10.1001/archinte.1957.00260010163031.
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Beginning with the widespread use of x-ray examination of the chest in clinical medicine there seems to have been a decline in the emphasis on physical diagnosis in teaching medical students and in the practice of medicine. Several factors can be assigned for this trend. In demonstrating early lesions of the pulmonary parenchyma the superior accuracy of the roentgenologic film exposed the inefficiency of some of the classical physical signs developed so laboriously by Auenbrugger, Laennec, and others by comparison with the findings at the autopsy table. The vast progress in the physiologic aspects of disease multiplied the laboratory tests available for diagnosis. The medical practitioner, who by disuse had lost his ability to diagnose lesions of the cardiac valves, rationalized the situation by consoling himself that it was only an academic question as far as the patient was concerned. The busy physician found that he could see more patients


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